Great Illustrated Books

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters

By Lenore Look, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Schwartz & Wade, 2009
Pages : 176
Suggested Ages: 6-9
ISBN: 0375857052

Alvin Ho, middle child in a Chinese American family says, "I was born scared and I am still scared." He's afraid of the dark and of the great outdoors, where bad things like hurricanes, tornadoes, and mudslides could happen.

After watching a DVD about the amazing escape artist, Harry Houdini, Alvin tries on his brother Calvin's fantastic homemade strait jacket and has Anibelly tie him up with rope. Then she rolls him into their time machine box, made from a big box the dishwasher came in, and tapes it shut, so he can escape, just like Houdini did. It's then that Alvin remembers he has claustrophobia. Adventures ensue including a camping trip with his accident-prone father.

You can read this book independent of the first one, Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things, but it may prove fun to read them together. In that book, Alvin tells you right away, on page one, that he is afraid of many things (including elevators, airplanes, thunder, substitute teachers, kimchi, shots, and, most important, school). He says, "The sixth thing you should know about me is I have never spoken a word in school . . . My voice works at home. It works in the car. It even works on the school bus. But as soon as I get to school . . . I am as silent as a side of beef."

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If you love this book, then try:

Brunelle, Lynne. Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kid's Guide, from the Backyard to the Backwoods. Workman, 2007.

Cameron, Ann. The Stories Julian Tells. Yearling, 1989.

Dowell, Frances O'Roark. Phineas L. Macguire . . . Erupts!: The First Experiment. Atheneum, 2006.

Drake, Jane, and Ann Love. The Kids Campfire Book. Kids Can, 1998.

George, Kristine O'Connell. Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems. Clarion, 2001.

Gravett, Emily. Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears. Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Johnson, D. B. Henry Builds a Cabin. Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

Johnson, D. B. Henry Hikes to Fitchburg. Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

Krull, Kathleen. Houdini: World's Greatest Mystery Man and Escape King. Walker, 2005.

Lin, Grace. The Year of the Dog. Little, Brown, 2006.

Look, Lenore. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things. Schwartz & Wade, 2008.

Look, Lenore. Ruby Lu, Brave and True. Atheneum, 2004. (And others in the Ruby Lu series.)

McDonald, Megan. Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid. Candlewick, 2005. (And others in the Stink series.)

Pennypacker, Sara. Clementine. Hyperion, 2006. (And others in the Clementine series.)

Weeks, Sarah. Oggie Cooder. Scholastic, 2008. (And others in the Oggie Cooder series.)

Critics have said

There are certain stories kids read and just feel good for having read: this is one of them.
School Library Journal